Best(or worst) Act 1 closers?

DEClarke
Broadway Legend
joined:11/22/06
Best(or worst) Act 1 closers?
Posted: 7/17/12 at 03:56pm
qolbinau, I have to disagree with you.

Why is there all this hate for a quieter or more solemn act one closer? In NEXT TO NORMAL and FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, I've always ached to see act two. I find the suspense over those fifteen minutes far more insurmountable than the loud and boisterous act one finales of WICKED and RENT. In fact, because of the power and drive in WICKED and RENT's finales I feel like the is over when act one closes. If I had to wait more than 15 minutes to find out what was I next, I could do it. These shows present second acts that feel more like sequels to me.

I don't get that feeling in NEXT TO NORMAL or FIDDLER ON THE ROOF. Both shows have such a hushed urgency that I absolutely cannot wait for people to reclaim their seats and for the houselights to darken.
OpeningNight
Swing
joined:7/17/12
Best(or worst) Act 1 closers?
Posted: 7/17/12 at 04:28pm
Best:
Wicked - If done right, can be very empowering and goosebumping.
Anything Goes - The tap number gives me chills.
Shrek - The show overall didn't quite impress me, but "Who I'd Be" is such a sentimental moment where Shrek is wondering what would have happened if he weren't an ugly ogre.
Formerly BwayEqs -- Something funky happened to my account and I couldn't log in. So here I am now.
GlindatheGood22
Broadway Legend
joined:7/17/07
Best(or worst) Act 1 closers?
Posted: 7/17/12 at 04:39pm
I liked the Women on the Verge finale but didn't understand why they had to fly.

And, call me crazy, but I've never liked Angry Dance as a first act finale for Billy Elliot.
I leave the room smiling.
NotAnotherSN
Understudy
joined:3/18/09
Best(or worst) Act 1 closers?
Posted: 7/17/12 at 05:23pm
I'm surprised no one has mentioned The Producers. I happen to love the Act 1 finale of that show, very "old Broadway."
johnmichael
Swing
joined:10/16/11
Best(or worst) Act 1 closers?
Posted: 7/17/12 at 05:23pm
i LOVED women on the verge.

the act ! closer is totally great, but its tangled ( the act 2 recap number) that is one of the all time great musical songs, with THE best orchestrations, and harmonies
finebydesign
Broadway Legend
joined:7/17/07
Best(or worst) Act 1 closers?
Posted: 7/17/12 at 05:33pm
God's Love Nubia closes Act 1 in the Aida Broadway. I specifically recall someone telling me that was a terrible place for that song, but I didn't understand why. The audience seemed to really like it.

There is a "Nubian" dance thing that happens before it, I believe.

We've all seen some clunkers, but "Into the Woods" really ends the show for me. I know some of the virgin audience thinks the show is over at that point. There is very little other than the playbill to let the audience know there is more to come.
Mister Matt
Broadway Legend
joined:5/17/03
Best(or worst) Act 1 closers?
Posted: 7/17/12 at 05:58pm
Mister Matt, what was so bad about GLOCKNER's Act 1 closer? I rather like "Esmerelda" - is it something lyrical I maybe don't understand (not being fluent in German) or something about the staging?

Esmerelda is a good song, but it didn't close the act. There was a bit of business where Phoebus goes to find Esmerelda and hangs off a bridge until he gets washed away in the river. The bridge is firmly planted on stage (part of the computerized blocks) and the river is just lighting on the stage floor. The whole thing looked silly and awkward. The scene was rather short and ended so abruptly, the audience didn't applaud until the house lights came up. It would have made more sense to end the act with Hellfire.
"What can you expect from a bunch of seitan worshippers?" - Reginald Tresilian
ThatShortBlondeChick
Swing
joined:6/23/12
Best(or worst) Act 1 closers?
Posted: 7/17/12 at 10:24pm
I really liked Phantom, Mary Poppins and Wicked.

But Anything Goes for sure takes the cake.
jv92
Broadway Legend
joined:11/4/05
Best(or worst) Act 1 closers?
Posted: 7/18/12 at 12:46am
Why would anyone consider FIDDLER's Act 1 finale to be "the worst?" It's incredibly chilling.

My favorite first act finale from a dramaturgical standpoint has always been "A Weekend in the Country" (When not staged by Trevor Nunn and mugged by Catherine Zeta-Jones), with "Everything's Coming Up Roses" and Sarah's Funeral in RAGTIME coming close behind.

But from just an overall, "This is fvcking brilliant" standpoint, "Sunday" from SUNDAY IN THE PARK...

I really like Act 1 Finales that make you wonder what will happen next, but not in a bland sort of "And now it's intermission..." way. I really love CHICAGO a great deal, but its final moments of Act 1 feel more like a "Alright, the audience needs to go to the bathroom/smoke/get a drink and the act's getting too long..." finale rather than a really exciting one.

hanabana
Stand-by
joined:5/12/12
Best(or worst) Act 1 closers?
Posted: 7/18/12 at 01:12am
My favorites are:

The Book of Mormon - "Man Up" is such a fun song, and I love that every character gets a part in this Act 1 closer!
Les Miserables - "One Day More", again, I love grand Act 1 closers that involves most of the characters. And this one is just glorious!
Ghost - "Suspend My Disbelief/I had a Life" was what made me want to see the show in the first place, I like the music.
Wicked - Although "Defying Gravity" focuses on one character towards the end, it is a great song and definitely a very strong number.

And I don't think anyone mentioned this one, but personally, I loved the Act 1 closer for:
Jekyll and Hyde - "Alive" reprise, it's such a powerful song, and combined with an intimidating (but amazing) Hyde voice, awesome acting, and the fire at the end, it was a very exciting Act 1 closer!

I can't really think of any Act 1 closers that I really disliked. I guess that's a good thing.
Bob30
Stand-by
joined:10/7/11
Best(or worst) Act 1 closers?
Posted: 7/18/12 at 03:30pm
I'm surprised no one mentioned the chandelier falling in Phantom!
Westend: Lion King,WWRY, Blood Brothers, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Woman In Black, Crazy For You, Wicked, Sweeney Todd, Much Ado About Nothing, A Chorus Line, Book Of Mormon, Merrily We Roll Along, Cripple of Inishmaan
Tours: Avenue Qx2, Grease, Sister Act,WWRY,Hairsprayx2, Never Forget, Blood Brothers x2, Singin' in the Rain, Legally Blonde,American Idiot x2, Phantom of the Opera, Beautiful Burnout, Our Countrys Good, The Ladykillers, Joseph,9-5, Rocky Horror, CATS
Regional: She Loves Me, Sweeney Todd, Kiss Me Kate, The Pajama Game, Barnum (Chichester) Metamorphosis (Lyric Hammersmith)Tristan and Yseult (Bristol Old Vic)
Tickets: Nevilles Island, Much Ado About Nothing
My Oh My
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/07
Best(or worst) Act 1 closers?
Posted: 7/18/12 at 05:23pm
Worst: A Chorus Line

It ain't supposed to be there, in the first place!
Recreation of original John Cameron orchestration to "On My Own" by yours truly. Click player below to hear.
Jon
Broadway Legend
joined:2/20/04
Best(or worst) Act 1 closers?
Posted: 7/18/12 at 05:32pm
So the "To Be Continued!" from the Narrator, as well as the total lack of a curtain call or exit music, are no clue whatsoever?
g.d.e.l.g.i.
Broadway Legend
joined:6/13/12
Best(or worst) Act 1 closers?
Posted: 7/18/12 at 06:22pm
I love the music that closes Act 1 of Tanz der Vampire, a portion of which became "Come With Me" in the American rewrite. Steinman has used the chord progression of that theme so many times it's in danger of becoming dull, but I love that particular setting.

I also love the end of "Blood Money" which closes Act One of Jesus Christ Superstar (some recordings dub it "Betrayal"). The "On Thursday night..." music hits me like a ton of bricks every time.
Formerly gvendo2005
Broadway Legend
joined: 5/1/05

Blocked: After Eight, suestorm, FindingNamo, david_fick, emlodik, lovebwy
songanddanceman2
Broadway Legend
joined:8/31/06
Best(or worst) Act 1 closers?
Posted: 7/18/12 at 07:07pm
Dreamgirls
Parade
Carrie
Legally Blonde
Miss Saigon
Ghost
Wedding Singer
Gypsy
Rent
Sunday

And i would have to agree with the person who said One Man Two Guvnors for best act 1 finale for a play.
Namo i love u but we get it already....you don't like Madonna
aliceidinabernadette
Understudy
joined:9/3/09
Best(or worst) Act 1 closers?
Posted: 7/18/12 at 08:24pm
Cabaret: The majority of the first act is fun. Yes, it's seedy, dirty, kinda-wrong fun, but the audience is generally having a good time. And the Ernst takes off his coat. And then Kost outs Shultz for being Jewish. And then Ernst screams at Schneider and tries to leave. And you feel the party atmosphere crumbling. And by the time the whole cast joins in on the Nazi anthem, creating a brick wall of patriotism that isolates the principals, and (in most stagings) the Emcee gives the audience a knowing stare, the audience finally connects their knowledge of history to these characters they've grown to love, and the party is over, and all they can do is wait.

Also, Sunday is magnificent.

When I saw the Follies revival, I was one of the lucky few who got an intermission-less experience, and I couldn't imagine it any other way. I just feel like there is no appropriate act break.
Give me a bottle of bourbon and half a chicken and I'll conquer the world!
jv92
Broadway Legend
joined:11/4/05
Best(or worst) Act 1 closers?
Posted: 7/18/12 at 08:46pm
I wish I had been at one of those FOLLIES performances, but before I could go back it was too late. Sondheim said the audience's loss of energy was palpable without an act break. Wouldn't it be the same in 1971, though? And they never put in an intermission on B'way then.
Sinfonian4life
Understudy
joined:6/27/08
Best(or worst) Act 1 closers?
Posted: 7/18/12 at 08:57pm
@JON I was thinking the same thing Jon! haha
I just saw FIDDLER for the first time on Saturday night and LOVED Act 1 Finale! And, again, J&H Finale is great too. That is without Mr. Hasselhoff. Sorry.

As much as I love Catch Me If You Can, the Act 1 Finale could have been better. I would not say it was horrible, but that it was weak. Then again, if you were enjoying the show, it would make you want to come back to Act II, right>
broadwaybabywannabe2
Featured Actor
joined:11/9/11
Best(or worst) Act 1 closers?
Posted: 7/18/12 at 09:46pm
without a doubt in my mind the BEST:

A WEEKEND IN THE COUNTRY...A Little Night Music

the worst: and i only say this as i have always wanted SWEENEY TODD to end the first act with EPIPHANY...not A LITTLE PRIEST, which to me is a great 1st song 2nd act...:)

the SONDHEIMMANIAC
justoldbill
Broadway Star
joined:10/17/07
Best(or worst) Act 1 closers?
Posted: 7/18/12 at 10:43pm
The best first-act finale (this side of TOSCA) is, and will always be, THE KING AND I. The worst, for me, is 42ND STREET. Dramatic, yes (somewhat), but pretty unfulfilling.

Well-well-well-what-do-you-think-of-that-I-have-nothing-here-to-pay-my-train-fare-with-only-large-bills-fives-and-sevens....
Updated On: 7/18/12 at 10:43 PM
ethan231h
Broadway Star
joined:5/5/11
Best(or worst) Act 1 closers?
Posted: 7/19/12 at 07:38pm
BEST

In The Heights
Billy Elliot
HAIR
Mary Poppins
Addams Family
Wicked
Bye Bye Birdie
Newsies
Shrek The Musical


WORST

Finian's Rainbow
Mamma Mia
Lion King
The Wizard of Oz(London)





Emma White
Featured Actor
joined:2/11/13
Best(or worst) Act 1 closers?
Posted: 2/24/13 at 02:34pm
Best:
Wicked is amazing, of course. I have weird feelings about that show but Defying Gravity is the ultimate way to close an act.

Into The Woods. I just love "Ever After" as a song and I kind of like how it makes you think the show is over (until the "to be continued") because I think that's really what the show is about: just when you think things are fine and dandy, they're not.

Sunday in the Park with George. Just... too beautiful for words.

Anything Goes, obviously. I played Hope in a production of it and I BEGGED to be included in that number. I changed wigs, threw on tap shoes and ran back in before the dance break. Fabulous number.

Worst:

Godspell. A local theatre here in Montreal did it without the intermission and it was SO much better.
"Nice is different than good."
Visceral_Fella
Broadway Star
joined:1/18/12
Best(or worst) Act 1 closers?
Posted: 2/24/13 at 02:56pm
Definitely Hairspray. Love the show, hate the act one closer.
dreamcoat12
Understudy
joined:5/9/12
Best(or worst) Act 1 closers?
Posted: 2/24/13 at 02:58pm
"I Am What I Am" from La Cage Aux Folles is a phenominal Act 1 Closer!
"I'm Free" from Footloose is also quite good.

"You Won't Be An Orphan For Long" is such a god awful song in Annie. But like, the intermission is placed well IMO.
artscallion
Broadway Legend
joined:5/15/07
Best(or worst) Act 1 closers?
Posted: 2/24/13 at 04:05pm
Sunday...hands down.
Art has a double face, of expression and illusion.
PTOPhan
Featured Actor
joined:6/5/12
Best(or worst) Act 1 closers?
Posted: 2/24/13 at 04:22pm
I suddenly realized that I don't remember what numbers end most musicals, perhaps because the movie adaptations change everything. "One Day More" in "Les Mis" certainly tells everyone that something major will take place in Act II, but it nonetheless has problems: It wraps up one story, and then Act II starts another, to me less interesting story. Yet, I can't think of another place to break.

I've seen versions of "The Phantom of the Opera" where the chandelier falls towards the end, right before the final lair scene (The Las Vegas version, which is presented in one act, and the movie). Maybe because I saw the movie first, followed by the Las Vegas production, followed by the original stage show, I think the falling chandelier is SO major that it belongs at the end. I think ending Act I after "Masquerade," and crashing the chandelier before the final lair would be preferable.
You alone can make my song take flight.

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